Is your brand on Amazon? If so, you are far from alone. As much as 53 percent of paid units sold on Amazon in Q3 2018 were sold by third parties. There are more than 5 million sellers across the marketplace, and total sales brought in as much as $118 billion in 2017.
Amazon is a behemoth. The marketplace’s scale can be one of its greatest strengths in retail, but it can also be a weakness for brands and manufacturers selling on the platform.
Why is this the case? Here’s how that can hurt your brand reputation.
Amazon’s size can be a pro and a con for brands.
How Do You Shop on Amazon?
To understand how your brand reputation can take a hit on Amazon is to first put yourself in the shoes of the shopper.
Imagine you are shopping for shampoo. You go to Amazon and search “Shampoo.” Your search results page will likely look something like this:
- Sponsored banner ad for a shampoo brand
- Sponsored shampoo product listings
- Top-rated Amazon-brand shampoos
- All other featured shampoo listings
That’s a lot of shampoo to sift through to find what you want. If you’re like most shoppers, you’ll start narrowing down your list based on factors like price, quantity, brand, and delivery time. This is when things get messy.
Amazon employs algorithmic merchandising to create a custom search results page for you. The platform tracks your shopping behavior and shows results tailored to your history. Amazon can also tilt the results in its favor, such as showing Amazon brands and sponsored products first. Some shoppers are even wary that Amazon’s algorithms are guiding them toward products that Amazon makes a bigger margin on.
Savvy shoppers must identify which product is best for them. You must decide how much you’re willing to spend, which brand you want, whether you want one bottle of shampoo or four bottles. The list goes on.
It’s during that process that sloppy humans can hurt brand reputation. That’s because …
Shoppers Don’t Always See What You Want
A brand’s products may not be listed on Amazon how it wants them to be represented.
For example, in your search for shampoo, you found one brand’s product that you want. But you see another listing for that brand as a four-pack and wonder if it’s a better per-bottle deal. However, that listing isn’t broken out by price per unit. Is that Amazon’s algorithmic merchandising guiding you toward the more expensive purchase by hiding accurate pricing data?
Probably not. In all likelihood, it’s the result of competing third-party sellers not doing their due diligence. It’s on the humans behind the scene to enter the data for each listing, and incomplete data, poor work, or other slip-ups show up on a shopper’s search result page.
How is this a problem for you? As a brand, your products could be sold by third parties on Amazon. Do you know how each third-party seller is listing your products? If not, you could have this very scenario across online marketplaces.
In the end, that could mean shoppers thinking less of your brand due to sloppy, inconsistent, or duplicative items on Amazon. Despite your best efforts, shoppers don’t always see what you want them to see.
Protect Brand Reputation with an Eye on Amazon
So then, what can you do about this? The good news is that brands have plenty of room to fix incorrect—or just plain careless—product listings on Amazon. Contact Amazon to request an update to a product page, even if you didn’t create the content in the first place. You can request to merge duplicate products from third-party sellers as well.
The bigger challenge is staying on top of pricing, MAP violations, and other major inconsistencies. In a world where Amazon has millions of sellers, you need to know how your brand is represented online. Consider automated pricing intelligence so you can track online prices at scale. You can also monitor MAP violators and contact any third-party sellers you feel are not listing your products in-line with your brand guidelines.
At the end of the day, it’s incumbent on you to monitor and enforce your online presence and pricing accuracy across Amazon—and all marketplaces. Wiser can help. Connect with us today to learn more about our pricing intelligence and other online solutions.